PA AG Josh Shapiro sends clear message to mandated reporters who fail to report

Monday morning, a press availability was hosted by Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller. She was joined by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
The panelists encouraged families to protect children from online dangers
Todd Bartley, of talkwilliamsport.com was able to ask the following question of the panelists:
“…is there ever a time to not mandate report and what happens if somebody fails to mandate report?”
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro offered the following response:
“I echo everything the Secretary (Miller) just said. I would just add. There are no higher priorities than protecting the most vulnerable in our state and children often times are the most vulnerable and when we find folks who are mandated reporters who are covering up abuse, we will hold them accountable.
We’ve charged many people, with, for example endangering the welfare of children.
We will not hesitate to charge mandated reporters who think they can cover-up abuse going on in a particular situation; whether a school, a place of worship, a school bus, whatever the case may be. And I think our record speaks for itself on that.”
Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller as well as Jonathan Rubin, Deputy Secretary from the PA Department of Human Services, Office of Children, Youth, and Families also offered comments which are being transcribed for publication and this story will be updated to reflect them upon completion.

Wolf Admin. Discusses Work of COVID-19 Regional Response Health Collaboratives to Strengthen Support for Long-Term Care Facilities Facing

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller and Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today discussed support the Wolf Administration is providing for long-term care facilities through the Regional Response Health Collaborative (RRHC) program, a statewide program providing clinical, operational, and educational support to long-term care facilities preparing for or facing outbreaks of COVID-19 at their facility. The secretaries were joined by Dr. Nicole Osevala, who leads the Penn State Health RRHC, and leadership from DHS overseeing the RRHCs to discuss Penn State Health’s work supporting facilities in Southcentral Pennsylvania and why the program must continue to be supported beyond its December 1, 2020 end date.

“We know how dangerous COVID-19 can be in congregate care settings, particularly in settings that serve people who are medically fragile or have other health vulnerabilities that make them more likely to experience additional complications from COVID-19, as often is the case for residents of long-term care facilities,” said Secretary Miller. “The unfortunate reality of this pandemic is that outbreaks can and will happen because these facilities and their staff cannot exist in a bubble. What matters most is how we catch and respond to outbreaks when they occur, and the RRHC program is strengthening our response at the state level and making local facilities better equipped to respond. This collaborative approach is saving lives.”

“The Department of Health is pleased with the RRHCs work to assist in ensuring facilities have the resources they need to respond to COVID-19 in these vulnerable settings,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “As we are in the midst of a fall resurgence, the RRHCs will become even more important. The introduction of COVID-19 into a long-term care facilities is a reflection of the number of cases in the community, which is why all Pennsylvanians have a role in helping protect these facilities.”

Pennsylvania’s long-term care system serves more than 127,000 people living in nursing homes, personal care homes, assisted living residences, and private intermediate care facilities. Due to the congregate nature and because they often serve individuals who are older or have co-occurring medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to an acute case of or complications from COVID-19, constant vigilance is necessary to avoid a serious outbreak at these facilities.

The RRHC program was designed to bolster Pennsylvania’s support for long-term care facilities and their residents and staff. Launched in late July, the RRHC program was established to provide clinical support, technical assistance, and education to long-term care facilities as they work to prevent and mitigate spread of COVID-19. The RRHCs are available 24/7 to support the nearly 2,000 nursing facilities, personal care homes, assisted living residences, and private intermediate care facilities in Pennsylvania and the residents they serve. Eleven health systems were selected to serve six regions across Pennsylvania. Southcentral Pennsylvania’s RRHC is Penn State Health.

Each RRHC is required to make a minimum of two on-site visits to each facility in their region, including an initial on-site assessment that will help the RRHC evaluate a facility’s COVID-19 prevention and mitigation strategies and their preparedness to respond to an outbreak if that were to occur. Based on this assessment, the RRHCs will help those facilities implement best practices in infection control, implement contact tracing programs in facilities, support clinical care through on-site and telemedicine services, and provide remote monitoring and consultation with physicians. RRHCs are in regular communication with DHS, the Department of Health (DOH), and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA)to report on experiences interacting with facilities, trends experienced by facilities, and potential challenges.

When a RRHC engages with a facility or is called in to help with a concern identified from collaboration between DHS, DOH and PEMA daily calls, these efforts are classified as missions. A mission could be anything from assistance with testing, assessing a facility’s preparedness, staffing support, rapid response deployment to facilities, PPE support, testing to ensure PPE is properly fitted, and questions or concerns requiring consultation. Since launching, the RRHCs have been assigned more than 6,200 missions, primarily covering testing, consultations, facility assessments, and support with PPE. The RRHCs are also working with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation to operate a statewide learning network available to all long-term care facilities. This network holds regular webinars on topics related to infection control and the latest guidance for responding to and mitigating spread of COVID-19. These webinars have reached more than 1,800 participants since the start of the RRHC program.

The administration can also deploy rapid response teams staffed by the RRHCs when an outbreak is suspected or confirmed at a long-term care facility. These rapid response teams consist of clinical and infection control professionals from the RRHCs to evaluate the situation, ensure proper cohorting of patients based off COVID status, facilitate resident transfers and additional staffing if necessary, and coordinate safe continued care for residents who are not COVID-positive. The rapid response teams can also provide emotional support to both residents or staff to help with the stress and fear associated with an outbreak. Rapid response teams are designed to stabilize potential or confirmed outbreaks, and assistance from RRHCs is not withdrawn until the situation is stabilized and there is no immediate risk to staff and residents.

Penn State Health’s RRHC serves 13 counties in Southcentral Pennsylvania. Since July, Penn State’s RRHC has participated in 734 missions covering facility assessments, testing assistance, PPE support and fit testing, training and consultation, and staffing assistance, among others. Penn State Health has assisted with 25 rapid response deployments across the Southcentral Region.

The RRHC is funded through Pennsylvania’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act award, the program is currently scheduled to end on December 1. The Wolf administration recently sent a letter to President Trump requesting funding to extend the program so it may continue to be a resource throughout the winter. Governor Wolf urged President Trump to work with Congress on a new stimulus package that would support the RRHC program and other resources crucial to protecting the lives, health and safety of Pennsylvanians.

“The last eight months have been a period of great learning. We’re now at a point where we have a system that is working and helping to stabilize and prevent outbreaks. As the country works to get a vaccine that is effective in market and available, we need to do all we can to protect people who are most vulnerable to this virus,” said Secretary Miller. “The RRHC program cannot stop COVID altogether, but it is undoubtedly making us better at fighting it. We cannot lose this resource.”

For more information on guidance to DHS’ providers related to COVID-19, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

Lycoming County Sheriff’s Office temporarily moving to Third Street Plaza

Effective Thursday October 22, 2020, the OFFICE of LYCOMING COUNTY SHERIFF Mark Lusk WILL BE TEMPORARILY LEAVING THE COURTHOUSE and relocating to 33 West Third Street Williamsport, located directly across the street from the Lycoming County Courthouse.

The Sheriff’s Office Administrative Operation will be CLOSED to the public on Thursday October 22 and Friday October 23, 2020 to facilitate the move. Public services such as License-to-Carry Firearms processing and other routine services will not be available during these 2 days. ALL Court related services will remain operational as will ALL Deputy Sheriff Operations.

On Monday October 26, 2020, the TEMPORARY Sheriff’s Office AT 33 West Third Street will reopen at 8:30 AM for normal business hours for License to Carry Firearm issuance and ALL other services provided by the Sheriff’s Office. Please visit our temporary Office at 33 West Third Street (also referred to as Third Street Plaza).

Mail correspondence should continue to be addressed to “The Lycoming County Sheriff’s Office, 48 West Third Street, Williamsport PA 17701”. ALL phone extensions will remain the same”.

If you have any questions, please contact our Office directly at 570-327-2280 and we will gladly assist you.

We apologize for any inconvenience this temporary situation may cause.

Yours in Service,

Sheriff Mark Lusk

DHS, Attorney General Encourage PA Families to Protect Children from Online Dangers

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Teresa Miller, joined by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance, reminded Pennsylvanians today of resources available to help families protect their children from online dangers and to educate children about using the Internet safely and productively.

“Since March, the pandemic of COVID-19 has amplified the role of the Internet in the lives of many Pennsylvanians, including children whose classrooms have moved online to protect our families and communities from the threat of the coronavirus. Thanks to the Internet, thousands of Pennsylvanians are working and learning remotely to mitigate the spread of this dangerous illness. I believe that Pennsylvanians’ flexibility and resourcefulness has saved lives,” Secretary Miller said. “But we must also remain diligent about protecting our children from dangers that lurk online. I encourage parents and guardians to speak with their children about safe online behavior and to seek out resources that are available to help.”

Attorney General Shapiro urged parents, guardians, educators and caregivers to make sure the children in their lives are aware of the Safe2Say Something app and hotline, which children can use to anonymously and safely report threats of violence, harassment and bullying – much of which occurs today in the realm of social media. The hotline can be reached at 1-844-723-2729.

“We must protect our children — in schools, at home, and online. Safe2Say Something serves as a program aimed at keeping young people safe and giving them an anonymous way to ask for help — for themselves or others,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Over the past two years, we have received 51,800 tips and we know that these tips have saved lives.”

The Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA) has posted a resource guide for parents to help them navigate the added challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a guide to recognizing child abuse when interacting with a child virtually.

“It’s vitally important that parents and caregivers are equipped with the tools and resources they need to keep children safe,” said Angela M. Liddle, president and CEO of PFSA. “Very often, that means parents have to first learn how online platforms work and what type of protections they should be utilizing.”

Liddle highlighted practical tips for parents, guardians and caregivers whose children are learning remotely or otherwise engaged online. For example, to protect children from online dangers:

  • Put the computer in an open space so you can see what your child is doing online periodically.
  • Set clear rules with children, such as not giving their name, address, phone number, or any personal information and no chatting with strangers.
  • Limit how long your child can be online at one time.
  • Spend time with your child online. Ask questions about what they are doing and look at their social media pages.
  • Know who your children are hanging out with online and who they are talking to.
  • Set a good example for your children. Parents who view inappropriate things online can leave traces for their children to find later.
  • Urge children to alert you if they encounter something or someone on the internet that makes them feel uncomfortable.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has published an extensive list of resources on its website to help families promote positive learning climates for their children online and at home. Pennsylvania’s Professional Standards and Practices Commission has also offered best practices guidance for educators to protect themselves and their students engaged in virtual learning.

DHS administers ChildLine, which is a 24/7 hotline available to anyone concerned for the safety or well-being of a child. To report a concern, call 1-800-932-0313.

Anyone can make a report to ChildLine. Anyone who is not a mandated reporter can make a report to ChildLine anonymously. DHS is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to learn more about the signs of potential abuse or neglect and make a report to ChildLine if they suspect abuse or neglect. Pennsylvanians can learn more about potential signs of abuse at www.keepkidssafe.pa.gov.

State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement October 16-18: 241 Compliance Checks; 11 Notices of Violation

 
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 241 licensed liquor establishments from Friday, October 16 through Sunday, October 18 to ensure businesses are abiding by COVID-19 mitigation requirements that include social distancing, masking, and other health and safety requirements of the liquor code.
Liquor Control Enforcement Officers issued 11 notices of violation and 52 warnings for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements. As mandated by the liquor code, a notice of violation precedes the issuance of an administrative citation, which is civil in nature, and is intended to provide licensed liquor establishments notification of the nature of violation(s) discovered. The investigation remains open during this period, pending review by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (BLCE). Because the investigation is ongoing, names of establishments issued a notice of violation will not be released at this time. Each BLCE district office posts a monthly public information release that includes details on citations issued by that office.
Compliance checks are unannounced and can occur anywhere in the commonwealth, although the focus is on areas experiencing higher coronavirus transmission rates. Among other requirements, all businesses and employees in the restaurant and retail food service industry authorized to conduct in-person activities are mandated to:
  • Require all customers to wear masks while entering, exiting or otherwise traveling throughout the restaurant or retail food service business (face masks may be removed while seated). Further, employees are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Provide at least six feet between parties at tables or physical barriers between customers where booths are arranged back to back.
  • Ensure maximum occupancy limits for indoor and outdoor areas are posted and enforced.
Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement | October 16-18, 2020
​TOTAL LICENSEE CHECKS
WARNINGS RELATED TO COVID-19 MITIGATION EFFORTS
NOTICES OF VIOLATION RELATED TO COVID-19 MITIGATION EFFORTS
1-Philadelphia
​16
7
2
2-Wilkes-Barre
45
4
2
3-Harrisburg
15
3
0
4-Pittsburgh
67
9
1
5-Altoona
14
0
1
6-Williamsport
25
5
1
7-Punxsutawney
9
7
1
8-Erie
24
5
2
9-Allentown
26
12
1
TOTALS
241
52
11
Violators may face administrative citation by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement. Continued violations put an establishment’s liquor license at risk, either through the citation process or upon application for renewal. More information is available on the enforcement page of the state police COVID-19 portal.
Complaints regarding licensees not complying with COVID-19 mitigation mandates may be directed to the BLCE at 1-800-932-0602 or reported through the BLCE’s online complaint form.

Gov. Wolf Urges General Assembly to Support Small Businesses

Governor Tom Wolf speaks during a press conference addressing the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pennsylvania, inside PEMA headquarters on Wednesday, June 10, 2020.

Harrisburg, Pa. – Today, Governor Tom Wolf urged the Pennsylvania General Assembly to act on funding small businesses while the body is in session this week.

“Small businesses have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Wolf. “The Small Business Assistance Program has seen immense success, but further support is needed to support our small businesses and strengthen the economy. I am calling on the General Assembly to approve additional funds to support our small businesses. We cannot let another week go by without addressing this need.”

As part of his fall legislative agenda, Governor Wolf called on the General Assembly to provide an additional $225 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding in the form of forgivable loans and grants to small businesses in Pennsylvania through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. In addition, the governor proposed $100 million in forgivable loans and grants for the hospitality, leisure and service industries, including restaurants and bars, salons and barber shops.

The COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance funding was developed in partnership with state lawmakers and allocated through the state budget, which included $2.6 billion in federal stimulus funds through the CARES Act, of which $225 million was earmarked for relief for small businesses, including historically disadvantaged businesses.

To date, more than 10,000 businesses were approved for $192 million in grants through the COVID-19 Relief Statewide Small Business Assistance Program. However, as the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, it is imperative that further funding be allocated to help small businesses that were not awarded in the first two rounds of funding, or that face ongoing hardship.

“So many of Pennsylvania’s small businesses have taken on additional work and costs to do the right thing and keep their employees and customers safe since reopening,” Gov. Wolf said. “They are doing everything right, and they need our help to continue to make ends meet.

“We held back a portion of Pennsylvania’s CARES Act funding so that we could address the commonwealth’s needs this fall. There is a need for additional funding for Pennsylvania’s small businesses right now, and I implore the General Assembly to take action without delay to support our small business community.”

PA COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard Update for Oct. 9 – Oct. 15

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today released a weekly status update detailing the state’s mitigation efforts based on the COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring System Dashboard. Updates are released each Monday.

The update includes the following:

  • Level of community transmission as a basis for the recommendations for Pre-K to 12 schools to determine instructional models.
  • Data on cases among 5-18-year-olds.
  • Cases that reported visiting a business among potential locations where exposures may have occurred.
  • Updated travel recommendations.

The dashboard is designed to provide early warning signs of factors that affect the state’s mitigation efforts. The data available on the early warning monitoring dashboard includes week-over-week case differences, incidence rates, test percent-positivity, and rates of hospitalizations, ventilations and emergency room visits tied to COVID-19. This week’s update compares the period of October 9 – October 15 to the previous seven days, October 2 – October 8.

“Our percent positivity and incidence rate for the Commonwealth both increased again this week in the midst of our fall resurgence of cases in Pennsylvania,” Gov. Wolf said. “We cannot emphasize enough the importance of Pennsylvanians being united in taking actions to protect ourselves and others, such as wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing our hands and avoiding large gatherings. Together, Pennsylvanians can work to prevent the spread of the virus.”

As of Thursday, October 15, the state has seen a seven-day case increase of 8,723 cases; the previous seven-day increase was 7,398 cases, indicating a 1,325-case increase across the state over the past week.

The statewide percent-positivity went up to 4.3% from 3.9% last week. Counties with concerning percent-positivity include Huntingdon (9.9%), Westmoreland (8.9%), Bradford (8.3%), Lackawanna (8.2%), Lebanon (8.2%), Perry (8.2%), Elk (7.9%), Susquehanna (7.1%), Bedford (6.8%), Berks (6.5%), Lawrence (6.4%), Luzerne (6.0%), Schuylkill (5.9%), Dauphin (5.7%), Armstrong (5.6%), Centre (5.6%), Tioga (5.5%), Carbon (5.1%), Indiana (5.1%), Montour (5.0%), Blair (5.0%), Each of these counties bears watching as the state continues to monitor all available data.

Community Transmission
As of Friday’s data, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Centre, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Montour, Schuylkill, Union and Westmoreland counties were in the substantial level of community transmission. The departments of Education and Health will speak with school district representatives in these counties to discuss the implications of this level of transmission.

For the week ending October 15, 10 counties were in the low level of transmission, 46 counties in the moderate level, with 11 with substantial transmission:

  • Low – Cameron, Clinton, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Juniata, Pike, Potter, Sullivan, Warren,
  • Moderate – Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Chester, Clarion, Clearfield, Columbia, Crawford, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Indiana, Jefferson, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, McKean, Mercer, Mifflin, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Snyder, Somerset, Susquehanna, Tioga, Venango, Washington, Wayne, Wyoming, York
  • Substantial – Berks, Blair, Bradford, Centre, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Lebanon, Montour, Schuylkill, Union, Westmoreland

Cases Among 5-18-Year-Olds
The Department of Health is providing weekly data on the number of statewide cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been 12,162 total cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds. Of that total, 991 occurred between October 9 – October 15. For the week of October 2 – October 8, there were 1,004 cases of COVID-19 among 5 to 18-year-olds.

Cases by demographic group is available on the DOH website.

Business Visits
The Department of Health is providing weekly data on the number of individuals who responded to case investigators that they spent time at business establishments (restaurants, bars, gym/fitness centers, salon/barbershops) and at mass gatherings 14 days prior to the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

Of the 8,580 confirmed cases reported between October 4 and October 10, 33 percent (2,820) provided an answer to the question as to whether they spent time at a business establishment.

Of those who did provide an answer, 17.2 percent, or 484, answered yes, they visited a business establishment 14 days prior to onset of symptoms:

  • 50 percent (243) of those who said yes reported going to a restaurant;
  • 26 percent (125) of those who said yes reported going to some other business establishment;
  • 14.3 percent (69) of those who said yes reported going to a bar;
  • 13 percent (64) of those who said yes reported going to a gym/fitness center; and
  • 8 percent (38) of those who said yes reported going to a salon/barbershop.

Of the 8,580 confirmed cases, 33 percent (2,822) answered the question as to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event. Of the 33 percent, 16.3 percent (424) answered yes to whether they attended a mass gathering or other large event 14 days prior to onset of symptoms.

Compared to data reported on October 13, this week’s data saw an increase in people going to a gym/fitness center (13 percent vs. 10.6 percent last week), going to a salon or barbershop (8 percent vs. 7 percent last week) and going to some other business (26 percent vs. 25 percent last week). Numbers went down for this week’s data for people who reported going to a restaurant (50 percent vs. 53 percent last week) and down slightly for those who reported going to a bar (14.3 percent vs. 14.5 percent last week). The number of those who attended a mass gathering or other large event remained relatively the same at 16 percent.

The numbers above highlight business settings and mass gatherings as possible sites for transmission. With less than half of those asked about what types of businesses they visited or if they attended a mass gathering responding to the question, the department is reminding Pennsylvanians that it is essential that people answer the phone when case investigators call and to provide full and complete information to these clinical professionals.

Travel Recommendations
Also today, the Department of Health updated its travel recommendations, originally announced on July 2, to remove Texas from the list of states recommended for domestic travelers returning from to quarantine for 14 days upon return to Pennsylvania.

It is important that people understand that this recommendation is in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania. A concerning number of recent cases have been linked to travel, and if people are going to travel, we need them to take steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community, and that involves quarantining.

Gov. Wolf continues to prioritize the health and safety of all Pennsylvanians through the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvanians should continue to take actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, regardless of in what county they live. This includes wearing a mask or face covering anytime they are in public. COVID-19 has been shown to spread easily in the air and contagious carriers can be asymptomatic.

October 19, 2020 – Department of Health Report

Fifteen (15) new cases added Sunday and Monday in Lycoming County now at 873 cases, no new deaths, one new death, 29 total deaths, with 15,261 negatives according to DOH report.

Department of Health Provides Update on COVID-19,

2,372 Two-Day Positives Bring Statewide Total to 183,315

Pennsylvanians Urged to Download COVID Alert PA App

Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Health today confirmed as of 12:00 a.m., October 19, that there were 1,103 new cases, in addition to 1,269 new cases reported on Sunday, October 18 for a two-day total of 2,372 additional positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to 183,315.

Allegheny is reporting an increase of 100 cases.

The number of tests administered within the last 7 days between October 12 and October 18 is 233,298 with 6,870 positive cases. There were 28,821 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., October 17 and 22,977 test results reported to the department through 10 p.m., October 18.

There were 26 new deaths reported Sunday, October 11, and 8 new deaths reported for Monday, October 19 for a total of 8,500 deaths attributed to COVID-19. County-specific information and a statewide map are available on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Mask-wearing is required in all businesses and whenever leaving home. Consistent mask-wearing is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

There are 1,719 cases who have a positive viral antigen test and are considered probable cases and 648 patients who have a positive serology test and either COVID-19 symptoms or a high-risk exposure.

There are 2,143,966 patients who have tested negative to date. Of the patients who have tested positive to date the age breakdown is as follows:

  • Approximately 1% are ages 0-4;
  • Nearly 2% are ages 5-12;
  • Nearly 5% are ages 13-18;
  • Nearly 14% are ages 19-24;
  • Nearly 36% are ages 25-49;
  • Approximately 21% are ages 50-64; and
  • Approximately 21% are ages 65 or older.

Most of the patients hospitalized are ages 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 or older. More data is available here.

The department is seeing significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases among younger age groups, particularly 19 to 24-year-olds. An alert was sent to healthcare providers about the changing COVID-19 case demographics, as there are more cases in younger age groups than in those 50-64 and 65+. The following regions saw significant increases among 19 to 24-year-olds in each month from April to present in October:

  • NC – Approximately 7 percent of cases in April to nearly 33 percent of cases so far in October;
  • SE – Nearly 5 percent of cases in April to nearly 17 percent of cases so far in October;
  • NE – 6 percent of cases in April to nearly 20 percent of cases so far in October;
  • NW – Nearly 7 percent of cases in April to approximately 19 percent of cases so far in October;
  • SW – Approximately 5 percent of cases in April to nearly 13 percent of cases so far in October; and
  • SC – Approximately 7 percent of cases in April to nearly 10 percent of cases so far in October.

In nursing and personal care homes, there are 24,663 resident cases of COVID-19, and 5,389 cases among employees, for a total of 30,052 at 1,025 distinct facilities in 61 counties. Out of our total deaths, 5,609 have occurred in residents from nursing or personal care facilities. A county breakdown can be found here.

Approximately 11,697 of our total cases are among health care workers.

Statewide – The Wolf Administration has since noon, Oct. 18:

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

Wolf Admin: Join the More than 322,000 Pennsylvanians Who Added Their Phone to the Fight by Downloading the COVID Alert PA app

Harrisburg, PA – Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today encouraged residents to join the more than 322,000 Pennsylvanians who have added their phones to the fight by downloading the COVID Alert PA mobile app.

“I am encouraging everyone to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer on a regular basis,” Dr. Levine said. “I also urge every Pennsylvanian to download the COVID Alert PA so you can get a notification if you have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive for COVID-19, or anonymously notify other residents if you yourself test positive. We all play a part in stopping the spread of this virus, and by uniting together, we can all make a difference.”

COVID Alert PA is a free and voluntary mobile app developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in partnership with NearForm, University of Pennsylvania and MIT Lincoln Laboratory using Apple and Google’s Exposure Notification System. The app’s features include an interactive COVID-19 symptom check-in, alerts for potential exposures to the virus, updates on the latest public health data about COVID-19 in PA and public health guidance for what to do if you have a potential exposure to COVID-19.

The app is designed to ensure privacy of the user. It does not use GPS, location services or any movement or geographical information. It will never collect, transmit or store personal information. It is completely anonymous.

Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa.”

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-Alerts.

DMVA Reminds Veterans to Secure Their Military Paperwork

Harrisburg, PA – Leaving the military can be a hectic and stressful time, especially with the current COVID-19 challenges. Transitioning veterans often forget how important it is to properly record and safeguard their most important military paperwork – the DD Form 214. That is where the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) can help.

The DD-214 is a document of the United States Department of Defense, issued upon a military service member’s retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States. It contains information needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans’ organizations.

“Of the thousands of requests for assistance we receive each year, veterans seeking help locating their DD-214 is the most common,” said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Eric Weller, deputy adjutant general of veterans affairs. “The DMVA has continued to prioritize these assistance requests throughout the pandemic.“

The DMVA can also assist with locating the DD-215, which is used to correct errors or make additions to a DD-214, helping to assure that veterans have accurate discharge documentation.

Weller said that the easiest way to manage military documents and avoid having to frantically search for them is to make sure they are filed in a safe place upon leaving the military.

“Every service member exiting the military should stop by the courthouse in their county of record to file their DD-214/215 with the Prothonotary’s Office,” said Weller. “This way, veterans and their family members will always know where to find an official copy and avoid a time-consuming search in the event that the original paper version gets lost. Regardless, if a Pennsylvania veteran needs our help, the DMVA will work hard to find these important documents for them.”

Anyone needing assistance from the DMVA to locate their DD-214/215, or other military documentation, can call toll-free 1-800-547-2838 or e-mail RA-REQ@pa.gov. More information about locating military documents can be found by visiting the Records Request Program.

Another way to stay in touch is for veterans, family members and people who work with veterans to sign up for the DMVA’s Veterans Registry by visiting www.register.dmva.pa.gov.   Registration is available by computer or mobile device.